SHELL GULF OF MEXICO INC.; SHELL OFFSHORE INC., Plaintiffs-Appellees,
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, INC; REDOIL, INC.; ALASKA WILDERNESS LEAGUE; NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, INC.; NORTHERN ALASKA ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER; PACIFIC ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES CENTER; THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY; OCEAN CONSERVANCY, INC.; OCEANA, INC.; GREENPEACE, INC.; SIERRA CLUB; NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY, INC., Defendants-Appellants
Argued and Submitted, August 13, 2014, Anchorage,
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Alaska. D.C. No. 3:12-CV-00048-RRB. Ralph R. Beistline, Chief District Judge, Presiding.
Case or Controversy
The panel reversed the district court's order denying environmental groups' motion to dismiss, due to lack of a case or controversy under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, a Declaratory Judgment Act lawsuit filed by Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc., seeking a declaration that the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement's approval of two oil spill response plans, required by the Oil Pollution Act, for Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi Seas did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act.
The panel held that Shell's lawsuit ran afoul of Article III's case or controversy requirement because Shell did not have legal interests adverse to the Bureau under the Administrative Procedure Act. The panel held that Shell may not file suit solely to determine who would prevail in a hypothetical suit between the environmental groups and the Bureau.
Michael E. Wall (argued) and Jennifer A. Sorenson, Natural Resources Defense Council, San Francisco, California; Steven A. Hirsch, Rachael E. Meny, and Justina Sessions, Keker & Van Nest LLP, San Francisco, California; George E. Hays, Law Office of George E. Hays, San Francisco, California, for Defendants-Appellants.
Kyle W. Parker, Crowell & Moring LLP, Anchorage, Alaska; Kathleen M. Sullivan (argued), William B. Adams, and David S. Mader, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, New York, New York, for Plaintiffs-Appellees.
Before: Jerome Farris, Dorothy W. Nelson, and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges.
D.W. NELSON, Senior Circuit Judge.
The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas lie on Alaska's Arctic coast. This area contains a bountiful ecosystem that supports a wide array of life, but it is also rich in natural resources, specifically, oil and gas. Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. and Shell Offshore, Inc. (collectively Shell) have invested
heavily in the exploration and development of oil and gas resources in the ...